Saturday, July 19, 2014

Embracing Your Future: Flying Algal Ships

Hydrogenase by Vincent Callebaut
It’s July 2030. You are heading to Vancouver Island to deliver a presentation to the International Community Planning Committee in Victoria on your innovative biomimetic design for an organic self-organized wellness centre and recreation complex in Sydney.

You walk down the hill toward Horseshoe Bay to the nearest Hydrogenase Hub, where you are meeting with your team to discuss the presentation. The hub is a floating algal farm. The farm and the elongated seed-shaped airship docked at its centre both produce biofuel—essentially hydrogen—from the microorganism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Your mom, a former environmental consultant and algal scientist—now she writes science fiction—explained to you that this unicellular organism has both plant and animal properties; it carries out photosynthesis but is also heterotrophic (able to use organic carbon to grow) and will in the absence of oxygen produce gaseous hydrogen and metabolites such as formate and ethanol through hydrogenase enzymes. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was first discovered as a clean source of hydrogen back in 1939 by German scientist Hans Gaffron at the University of Chicago (ironically the same year Germany invaded Poland). Gaffron called it “photosynthetic hydrogen production by algae”; and today it is a process that produces electricity and biofuel with zero emissions.
Hydrogenase by Vincent Callebaut

freshwater alga Spirogyra
The algae farm recycles CO2 for the bio-hydrogen airship you will be boarding after your meeting in the hub. You enter the airy station, whose honeycomb circular design resembles a stylized lily pad and glance up through the high nano-glass ceiling toward the elongated seed-shaped transport rising ten stories above you. The sun glances off the diaphanous double helix frame that resembles a freshwater spirogyra. The hub you’re standing in is a floating algae farm with solar cells on top and hydro-turbines below to capture tidal energy.

The concept is the “subversive architecture” of Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut and inspired by the principles of biomimicry, coined by Janine Benyus in 2002 in her book “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature”.  Callebaut conceived Hydrogenase in 2010 as a 100% self-sufficient and zero-emission transport system using algae. He claimed that a hectare of seaweeds could produce 120 times more biofuel than a hectare of colza, soya or sunflower without consuming land needed for crops or forests. He called Hydrogenase a true miniature biochemical power station. Able to absorb CO2 as the main nutrient through photosynthesis the algae, under anaerobic conditions, produce hydrogen in vitro or in bioreactors.
Hydrogenase by Vincent Callebaut
You swipe your PAL over the ticket booth sensor and the optional ticket-brochure pops out. You take it and read the specs between glances at the tall vessel loading in the dock of the hub. It’s really like a vertical dirigible, you think, studying the seed-shaped airship with self-cleaning “intelligent” nanostructured glass—inspired by the lotus leaf that doesn’t get wet. The semi-rigid unpressurised airship stretches vertically around an arborescent spine that twists like chloroplast ribbons 400 meters high and 180 meters in diameter.

You read that each Hydrogenase airship is covered with flexible inflatable photovoltaic cells and twenty wind turbines to maneuver and collect energy. The interior spaces provide room for housing, offices, scientific laboratories, and entertainment, and a series of vegetable gardens that provide a source of food while recycling waste.
 You read that this self-sufficient organic transport flies about 2000 meters high at about 175 km/hr (twice the speed of a conventional ship). Given its ease in negotiating airspace and its ability to land and take off from virtually any location, the Hydrogenase is used by many groups in various capacities. Your friend Michael who teaches at the University of Victoria uses one as a mobile research station in his studies along the coast of northern British Columbia.  

The vessel is made of “intelligent layers” and “self-separable ceramics”. Its bionic coating draws inspiration from sharkskin that is self-cleaning and flow-efficient.
You head down the spiral staircase to the third subsea level toward the meeting room you booked earlier on your PAL. The view is spectacular from here through the nano-glass panes. Rays of shimmering light stream through a gently swaying forest of kelp. You glimpse the sun-glinted flickering of hundreds of anchovies as they school through the kelp. This floating farm is an organic purifying station of four carbon wells where the algae recycle the carbonated waste brought by the airships and, in turn, feed the airship with biohydrogen. It’s the new “gas station”, you reflect with a smile.
top and bottom views of Hydrogenase
After your meeting with staff, you and three others of your team board the airship and settle in one of the skyview chambers. The journey is relaxing, like the BC Ferry used to be, but without the pungent smell and pollution of conventional motorized sea vessels. It’s a quiet and relaxing trip with a spectacular view of the Gulf Islands. Your team strategizes your presentation over a light lunch and Matcha lattes.
The PA system sounds and a woman’s voice informs you that the ship will be making an emergency landing on Saturna Island to rescue two hikers injured at East Point. This will only add twenty minutes to the trip, the woman assures you. You don’t mind and recall the disclaimer at the bottom of the ticket. Given the ability of this airship to take off and accurately land virtually anywhere, all Hydrogenases are by law mandated to be on standby for rescue missions in rough terrain.
You pull out the ticket and read again: The Hydrogenase is affiliated with the International Red Cross and BC Coastguard. The Hydrogenase must by law respond to any distress call at sea or rough terrain associated with coastal waters. Because of this service, we cannot guarantee a timely schedule.   
Hydrogenase hub algal farms and airships
You recall how Hydrogenases were deployed in the last hurricane disaster off the coast of Florida last year, saving countless people trapped in the flooding that accompanied the storm. The International Red Cross uses them as flying hospitals.

Bernard frets over the time delay. He is concerned about the lack of preparation and set up time once you get into Victoria. You assuage him gently. The best preparation is sincerity, you tell him. The landscape architect Thomas Woltz whose work you highly respect, saw himself as someone who embraces the complexity of modern life while seeking meaning and narrative in both natural and man-made environments.

Hydrogenase by Vincent Callebaut
“We’re storytellers,” you tell Andre. Invoking metaphor through design. “They know we’re coming and they know we’re helping someone; they’ll wait for our story. And it’s all about harmony.”

The lines of Henry David Thoreau come to you: Man’s life must be of equal simplicity and sincerity with nature, and his actions harmonize with her grandeur and beauty.

Then you point your PAL at the ServiceBot and order three more lattes. You lean back in your bamboo fabric chair and cross your legs over the leg rest.

It’s a new world. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tesla, Frequency, Vibration and Bioresonance Healing Therapy

Nikola Tesla
If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration—Nikola Tesla

Everything in life is vibration—Albert Einstein

The natural frequency of an object is associated with one of its many “standing wave patterns” by which it vibrates. The natural frequencies of a musical instrument are sometimes referred to as the harmonics of the instrument. An instrument can be forced into vibrating at one of its harmonics (with one of its standing wave patterns) if another interconnected object pushes it with one of those frequencies. This is resonance: when a second object vibrating at the same natural frequency as the first object forces it into vibrational motion. A common example is pushing someone on a swing. The Bay of Fundy experiences tidal resonance. Acoustic resonance can occur between a musical instrument and a human vocal cord. A crystal wineglass will shatter when exposed to a musical tone of the right pitch (its resonant frequency). Electrical resonance of tuned circuits in radios occurs when a certain radio frequency is received. Orbital resonance occurs when two orbiting bodies—like two moons or two planets (e.g., Neptune and Pluto)—exert a regular, periodic gravitational influence on each other.

Most vibrating objects have multiple resonant frequencies.
the Tesla Tower at Wardenclyffe

Inventor and Engineer August Worley tells us that “resonance occurs when two or more tuned frequency systems interact in such a way as to induce an energetic transfer.”

Schumann Resonance (SR) is the global electromagnetic resonance that occurs as a set of peaks in the extremely low frequency (ELF) portion of the Earth’s electromagnetic field spectrum between 3 and 69 Hz, with distinct peaks at 7.83, 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. SR acts as a closed waveguide. It’s like a wave-bridge.

“So astounding are the facts in this connection,” said Nikola Tesla in 1899 of the Earth’s electromagnetic resonance—later named Schumann Resonance in 1954, “that it would seem as though the Creator, Himself had electrically designed this planet.”

"Tesla Towers" in Istra near Moscow
The normal standing wave created in the Schumann Cavity occurs at a wavelength equal to the circumference of the Earth, and at a base frequency (and highest intensity) of between 6-8 Hz (7.83 Hz). Some call this basic frequency the Earth’s “heartbeat” or the “tuning fork” of the planet, suggesting that it generates natural healing properties when living things are entrained to its rhythm. It turns out that all biological systems resonate at this same frequency range. The electrical resonance of the Earth lies between 6-8 Hz. This coincides with alpha rhythms produced by the human brain during meditation, relaxation and creativity. Dolphins produce sound waves that coincide with the Schumann Resonance Frequency of 7.83 Hz. According to the AquaThought Foundation, human contact with dolphins induces both alpha brain state and hemispheric synchronization in the brain. Dr. H. König, Schumann’s successor at Munich University, discovered that the dominant brain wave rhythm of all mammals is the alpha or resting state of 6-8 Hz.

When two vibrating systems resonate with each other, like the human brain and the global electric circuit, a rise in amplitude in the waves occurs. They are said to be in tune. They are resonating. Proponents suggest that a rise in amplitude causes a rise in our consciousness energy and that Schumann Resonance generates healing effects when living things are entrained to its frequency. 
The Tesla coil in Colorado Springs

Nikola Tesla certainly understood this when he intuited that energy waves in the earth and the atmosphere could be used to transmit power to any point on the globe. He understood that the surface of the Earth, the ionosphere and the atmosphere together form one gigantic electrical circuit—an electrified Gaia, so to speak—and this formed the basis for his work on wireless energy transmission. Tesla was able to transmit power and energy wirelessly over long distances (via transverse waves and longitudinal waves). He transmitted extremely low frequencies (ELF) through the ground and between the Earth’s surface and the Kennelly-Heaviside layer of the ionosphere. Tesla patented wireless transceivers that developed standing waves and it was he who discovered that the resonant frequency of the Earth was about 8 Hz and in the range of the Schumann Resonance or Cavity.

Modern technology appears to be threatening humanity’s connection with earth’s fundamental frequency and the natural vibrations of Schumann Resonance. Threats include artificial man-made EMF radiation, wireless technology, and high frequency heating microwaves pulsed at 2.45 GHz. Whether we co-evolved with Earth’s natural electromagnetic environment or were created with Divine Intelligence to live in harmony with it, many experts believe that artificial man-made EMF radiation masks the natural beneficial frequency of the Earth and may create an environment that is literally `out of tune' with Nature itself.
Jenny sand

Cymatics, Evolution and the Power of Sound

A while back I wrote an article entitled “the Mozart Effect: The Power of Music” in which I discussed how music can heal the body, strengthen the mind and unlock the creative spirit. For instance, music with a pulse of about sixty beats per minute can shift consciousness from the beta wave (ordinary consciousness at 14-20 Hz) toward the alpha range (heightened awareness at 8-13 Hz), enhancing alertness and general well-being.

A film of turpentine subjected to sound waves
The study of cymatics, coined by Hans Jenny from the Greek word kyma (wave), explores how sound affects gases, liquids, plasmas and solids and how vibrations, in the broad sense, generate and influence patterns, shapes and moving processes. When sound travels through non-solids it moves in longitudinal waves called compression waves. In matter, the medium is displaced by sound waves, causing it to oscillate at a frequency relative to the sound, and visible patterns emerge.

Jenny was convinced that biological evolution was a result of vibrations, and that their nature determined the ultimate outcome. He speculated that every cell has its own frequency and that a number of cells with the same frequency create a new frequency, which is harmonious with the original, which in its turn possibly formed an organ that also created a new frequency in harmony with the two preceding ones. Jenny was saying that the key to understanding how we can heal the body with the help of tones lies in our understanding of how different frequencies influence genes, cells and various structures in the body.
Ancient Hebrew

Extending his tonoscope research into voice and language, Jenny discovered that when the vowels of ancient Hebrew and Sanskrit were pronounced, the sand took the shape of the written symbols for these vowels, while modern languages didn’t generate the same result. This has led spiritual philosophers to ponder if “sacred languages” (including Tibetan and Egyptian) have the power to influence and transform physical reality, to create things through their inherent power, or through the recitation or singing of sacred texts, to heal a person who has gone "out of tune"?

Physioacoustics and Healing BioResonance with the Pyradym

Tibetan Monks chanting
Since ancient times, low frequency sound was used in various forms to cause physiological and psychological effects. From the chant of Tibetan monks, to the Gregorian chant, to the Music of African tribes, and Australian aborigines; low frequency sound was used to calm, to excite, to relieve anxiety, to motivate warriors, and to induce relaxation.
Physioacoustics is a scientific method of applying low frequency stimulation to the human body to obtain desired emotional or physical effects. Physioacoustics may be thought of as the science that takes the active ingredients out of music, concentrates them, and infuses them in pure form to motivate or heal.
Researchers in Physioacoustics use sound waves in the frequency range of 27 to 113 Hz. Most research in Low Frequency Sound has been carried out in Scandinavia, England, and other parts of Europe . Since 1991 controlled studies in North America have demonstrated significant decreases in anxiety, tension, muscle spasticity, arousal states, and dramatic increases in relaxation and a sense of well-being. 
August Worley at Teslamania Toronto
I recently attended a festival dedicated to Nikola Tesla on his 158th birthday at the Science Centre in Toronto. While I was there, I met August Worley, inventor of the Pyradym, a sound-healing instrument that uses the principals of physioacoustics. Shaped in the form of a pyramid, the self-contained electrically powered apparatus helps stimulate and facilitate the human body’s own self-healing.  

He build the bio-resonating Pyradym because, “it just seems logical to me that having a convenient and interactive way of treating our bodies to harmonious resonant frequencies can go a long way towards correcting some of the damage induced by our toxic environment. Consider the “envelope of frequency hash” being generated in our hostile electromagnetic environment. I believe we underestimate the refractory impact the EMFs being generated in our technologically-based societal environment is having to our immune systems, aside from what we ingest.”

Worley demonstrates the Pyradym
In a 2007 interview with Asheville reporter Bill Brackney, Worley revealed that, “a few years ago a widely circulated survey published the average life spans of people in various occupational groups. “Experts” were surprised to find that orchestral conductors were the longest-lived occupation in the survey. I read that and thought ‘why wouldn’t this be so?’ Aside from the obvious aspect of the aerobic activity of the involved upper body movement, they are being regularly washed at the cellular level in a shower of pure, harmonious resonant frequencies being generated right in front of them! In fact – they are essentially the focal point of all of the sound being generated by the orchestra, aren’t they?!”

“Resonance,” says Worley, “is a metaphor for the energetic expression of the Universe at its most fundamental level.”

We are a gestalt culmination of light, wave-pulse, matter and motion resonating with this beloved planet Earth and its water. Our minds and bodies “sing” its choral aria. I’ve heard it. Have you?

You can learn more about August Worley and the Pyradym at 

Relevant Articles of Interest:

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Angel of Verdun and The Edge of Tomorrow

Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt)
She’s called The Angel of Verdun. You also see another name scrawled in bright red over a London bus: Full Metal Bitch. When we first see her, angry and fierce in her battle gear (which resembles a modern-day knight’s armour) she’s heading out to battle, stomping out of the bunker, surrounded by an entourage, and summarily knocks an acolyte down who gets in her way. She’s badass. She’s the Full Metal Bitch.

Her real name is Rita Vrataski. She wields a sharpened helicopter blade as her weapon of choice and serves as the poster girl for the United Defense Force to recruit more into the fight.

Rita (Emily Blunt) is a very different kind of poster girl for the war effort of the recent SF action
movie Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman and written by Christopher McQuarrie. There is an “edge of tomorrow” in this military SF story that explores how much we’ve changed since the time of World War I and II.  And that change is most apparent in how women are seen and act.

Edge of Tomorrow makes subtle and not so subtle reference to both world wars:  from its June 6th release (70th anniversary of D-Day and the massive and decisive Normandy landing) to its reference to the trenches of Verdun in WWI, the Nazi or German Empire forces as the original seat of the Omega entity and many more.

The premise is straight-forward science fiction stuff: Earth is under attack by an alien species, who have seeded themselves with a meteor shower. The aliens have conquered Russia and China and now threaten France and England. Evoking echoes of World War II’s Normandy invasion, the United States joins the fray in support of their allies.

American Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), who is with the PR staff of the war effort, gets unwillingly drafted to the front as a rookie private and dies in the first five minutes of landing on the shores of Normandy—but not before he kills an alpha alien, which covers him in blue blood. This sends him into a vicious time loop, where he must relive and die over and over in that horrendous bloodbath. Each time, he glimpses the Angel of Verdun repeatedly killed. On one occasion, Vrataski runs across him, lying injured in the mud. He can’t move, sure victim to the aliens.
She snatches his battery pack and moves on, leaving him there to die. Astonished at the Angel’s apparent lack of compassion, Cage will later mimic her “let him die” attitude when he knowingly lets fellow soldier Kimmel get crushed.
WW2 Pin up girl

In a later iteration he finally meets Vrataski on the battlefield, where she realizes (having gone through the time loop and lost it) that he is now in a time loop and therefore the key to their victory; she tells him to find her when he wakes up just seconds before she lets herself get blown up and they begin their looping journey together. To his complaint, “I’m not a soldier,” Vrataski replies, “No, you’re a weapon.” That’s how she sees him. And to that end, she mentors him in the art and science of soldiering. When things go awry she time and again unflinchingly shoots him dead to reset the time. Cage tries to engage her in casual conversation and finds her taciturn. “You don’t talk much,” he observes, to which she quips, “Not a fan.” She’s all about the business of defeating the enemy before the human race is wiped out.

Edge of Tomorrow provides a refreshing kind of woman hero; someone who is equal to her male protagonist in skill, intelligence and heroic stature. What I mean by heroic stature is that her heroic journey of transformation does not play subservient to her male counterpart’s journey. This almost happens on two occasions when Cage gives her an “out” to stay behind and let him take over. She declines. In fact, Cruise lets her character take the lead, even though this it truthfully Cage’s story of metaphoric transformation from “onlooker” to “participant”.

In so many androcratic storylines, the female—no matter how complex, interesting and tough she starts out being—must demure to the male lead; as if only by bowing down to his superior abilities can she help ensure his heroic stature. Returning us right back to the cliché role of the woman supporting the leading man to complete his hero’s journey. And this often means serving as the prize for his chivalry. We see this in so many action thrillers and action adventures today: Valka in How to Train Your Dragon, Wyldstyle in The Lego Movie, Neytiri in Avatar, Trinity in The Matrix, and so many more. There’s even a name for it: the Trinity Syndrome.

Tasha Robinson writes in her excellent article entitled, We’re losingall our Strong Female Characters
to Trinity Syndrome: “The idea of the Strong Female Character—someone with her own identity, agenda, and story purpose—has thoroughly pervaded the conversation about what’s wrong with the way women are often perceived and portrayed today, in comics, video-games, and film especially…it’s still rare to see films in the mainstream action/horror/science-fiction/fantasy realm introduce women with any kind of meaningful strength, or women who go past a few simple stereotypes.”

I give Cruise, Liman  and McQuarrie full marks for not doing this. For example, after Cage makes his case to his Squadron to go find the Omega in Paris, they remain reluctant until Vrataski emerges. “I don’t expect you to follow me,” says Cage. “I do expect you to follow her.” The Angel of Verdun—or better yet, the badass Full Metal Bitch. And why not? Who wouldn’t follow her?  

Is this one of the reasons that this movie didn’t do so well in the North American box office as it did overseas, whose audience may reflect a more mature, open and enlightened audience?

When a female lead is stronger than the male protagonist, some reviewers (OK—male reviewers) treat and categorize that movie as a “woman’s story”. I’ve been told by some of my male friends that they couldn’t possibly empathize with such a character—mainly because she is a woman and she is stronger than the male lead “they want to be”.  Invariably, in many of these, the male counterpart is so much “milk-toast” compared to that awesome female-warrior. And have you ever noticed that, while the male hero gets the girl, the female hero usually ends up alone? Great examples include: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Xena: Warrior Princess; Sarah in The Terminator and of course Vasquez in Aliens. These women are amazons; they stand apart, goddess-like, unrelenting, unflinching—untouchable. It’s actually no wonder that my ex-husband dislikes Sigourney Weaver to this day—she could crush him underfoot and eat him for breakfast at a moment’s notice. And probably would!

In a superb article in NewStatesman entitled I hate Strong Female Characters, Sophia McDougall

“…I want to point out two things that Richard (the II) has, that Bond and Captain America and Batman also have, that Peggy (Carter of Captain America), however strong she is, cannot attain. They are very simple things, even more fundamental than “agency”. 
1)      Richard has the spotlight. However weak or distressed or passive he may be, he’s the main goddamn character. 
2)      Richard has a huge range of other characters of his own gender around him, so that he never has to act as any kind of ambassador or representative for maleness. Even dethroned and imprisoned, he is free to be uniquely himself.On the posters [women are] posed way in the back of the shot behind the men, in the trailers they may pout or smile or kick things, but they remain silent. Their strength lets them, briefly, dominate bystanders but never dominate the plot. It’s an anodyne, a sop, a Trojan Horse - it’s there to distract and confuse you, so you forget to ask for more.”
There is another type of female hero. She is equal to her male counterpart. Her story is not secondary to his story; her heroic status and hero’s journey is equal to his; in fact they may share the same journey. Examples include: Bonnie and Clyde; Peter Chang’s Aeon Flux; Farscape; Battlestar Galactica

And now Edge of Tomorrow

As with the above examples, Vrataski and Cage form a team, in which together they are more than the sum of their parts. A marriage of independent autopoiesis, combining skills, abilities and vision. This is also why, in my opinion, the ending of Edge of Tomorrow is totally appropriate: not because it’s “the happy ending”; but because it carries the message of enduring collaboration of equals in a gylanic society. 

Other Relevant Articles of Interest:

Female Heroes in Literature and Pop Culture

Gylany: a social system based on equality of men and women
Androcracy: a form of governing system in which rulers are male

Riane Eisler (in The Chalice and the Blade) provides examples of sociobiologists who draw on nineteenth-century Darwinism by citing insect societies to support their androcratic (social and political rule by men) theories. If we are to truly rise victorious over the scourge of climate change—a function of our current lifestyle and paradigms—we will need to adopt a cultural evolution that embraces a partnership society heralded by new and renewed symbology, language and “myth”.